Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


Date of this Version



Moran, B. J. (2013). Juvenile Court Officers' perceptions of innovation adoption; What personal and contextual factors make a difference in levels of adoption? An exploratory mixed-method study. (PhD dissertation, University of Nebraska-Lincoln).


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Interdepartmental Area of Human Sciences (Child, Youth and Family Studies), Under the Supervision of Professor Rochelle L. Dalla. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2013

Copyright (c) 2013 Brenda J. Moran


This exploratory research examined levels of innovation adoption among Juvenile Court Officers (JCOs) in a Midwestern state. The researcher applied Dr. Everett M. Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation model as the study’s framework. According to Rogers (2003), innovation is “an idea, practice or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption” (p. 475). The study sought to determine the extent that demographic and work-life variables such as gender, office location, caseload, years of service, personality/temperament and employee engagement contributed to levels of innovation adoption by JCOs. This study examined the characteristics of individuals and contexts in which they operate that make them more or less likely to adopt innovations. Research was conducted using a web-based instrument that combined three previously developed surveys and used Survey Monkey to collect data. Follow-up interviews, developed around six open-ended questions, were conducted with a subset of participants to delve more deeply into JCO’s experience of innovation. Survey results were analyzed using t-tests, ANOVAS and correlations. Interviews were analyzed using spiral analyses. The analysis indicated that of the fifty-eight respondents to the web-survey and fifteen personal interviews, male and female Juvenile Court Officers reported equal levels of innovation. High scores on the employee engagement scale corresponded with higher levels of reported innovation. There were no statistical differences between rural and urban area officers or with openness to innovation between officers with ten or fewer and those with eleven or more years of service. Interviewees’ comments, however, suggested that a larger sample might reveal different results. The study had mixed results with respect to the impact of a JCO’s temperament on his/her adoption of innovation. A design flaw prevented assessment of the impact of caseload on innovation. Finally, it was anticipated that participants’ responses would reflect Rogers’ Adoption of Innovation normal-curve (a cumulative percentage of innovation adopters over time). This assumption was not confirmed.

Adviser: Professor Rochelle L. Dalla